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How parents can prepare for their child support hearing

18914952_S.jpgWhen Illinois parents get divorced or decide to separate, one parent is often required to pay a certain amount in child support. Judges use financial information provided by both parents to make determinations about how much these payments will be. Because judges generally do not know the families, parents should prepare for the hearing.

Parents should read all of their mail to ensure that they do not miss any piece of information that may come from their attorney, the other parent or the court. If the parents are required to take action, they should do so in a timely manner. If the parents are required to go to court for a child support hearing, they should ensure that they arrive on time. If possible, arriving early can allow parents to reduce their nervousness before the case begins.

During the child support hearing, parents should stay on the topic of child support. The judge does not have control over the child custody order or any visitation arrangements that have already been made. The amount of child support one parent may pay is determined based on the financial information that has been provided and the state's child support guidelines. Both parents should be realistic about child support, especially if one parent has little-to-no actual income.

Once a child support order has been made by the court, the parent responsible for making payments is held to the obligation even if his or her financial situation has changed. In the event that a parent can no longer make the ordered child support payments due to an illness, an injury or change in his or her job, a family law attorney may assist in requesting a modification of the child support order until the parent's situation improves.

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